Turkey detains 49 Daesh suspects said to be planning attacks

Supporters of the "NO" vote campaign shout slogans and they wave Turkish and "NO" flags as they gather in the streets ahead of Sunday's referendum, in Istanbul, Saturday, April 15, 2017. (AP)
Updated 15 April 2017
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Turkey detains 49 Daesh suspects said to be planning attacks

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s state-run news agency says 49 people with alleged links to the Daesh group have been detained for planning “sensational attacks” in the run-up to Sunday’s referendum on increasing the powers of the president.
The Anadolu news agency reported Saturday that police conducted simultaneous operations in seven Istanbul districts following a tip. Forty-one foreigners are among the detained. Anadolu says the suspects are also connected to the perpetrators of the New Year’s nightclub attack in Istanbul.
Daesh has called for attacks against the referendum in its Arabic and Turkish publications this month, arguing that voting is opposing God and branding Muslim voters as “disbelievers.”
Turkey is holding a referendum on constitutional amendments that would significantly expand the powers of the president.


UAE minister: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

Updated 21 min 54 sec ago
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UAE minister: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

  • Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000
  • The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa

DUBAI: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah will take a “calculated and gradual” approach to the battle, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday.

The comments came after witnesses said eight villagers had been killed and 15 others wounded when Houthi militia shelled a village in the center of the country called Haglan Maris.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE was taking into consideration a “fragile humanitarian situation,” avoiding civilian casualties in addition to military calculations.

Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000. He declined to reveal the size of coalition forces but said they had “numerical superiority.”

He said that the Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time.

Gargash added that the Hodeidah port is a “major artery” for weapons smuggling from Iran to the Houthis.

“The liberation of Hodeidah is a major step in freeing Sanaa,” the UAE minister said, adding that “the roads leading to the port are filled with mines.”

France is said to be helping the Arab coalition in demining the roads.

“We have opened the road from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow the militias to flee without resistance,” Gargash said.

The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa for emergency talks.

Martin Griffiths was expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee and halt heavy clashes against advancing government troops backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(With AFP, AP & Reuters)